If "Real People" Commercials Were Real Life

If "Real People" Commercials Were Real Life

Updated Aug 03, 2017 at 11:59AM EDT by Matt.

Added Jun 30, 2017 at 01:24PM EDT by Matt.

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If "Real People" Commercials Were Real Life is a series of web videos by the sketch comedy team Zebra Corner, comprised of Ali Shahriari and Dave Irwin. The videos feature a loudmouth, Bostonian man named "Mahk" superimposed into TV commercials to comment on the problems real people have with the ads and/or products.


On May 20th, 2016, Zebra Corner uploaded their first video, a parody of 1990s, TGIF-style sitcoms entitled "CANCELLED SITCOMS – The Radical Muslim." The video (shown below) received more than 223,000 views in 13 months.

While "CANCELLED SITCOMS" never blossomed into a full series, for their next video, Zebra Corner produced the first of their "If X Were Real Life" videos. On September 2nd, 2016, the team uploaded "If 'Animal Movie' Trailers Were Real Life – Milo & Otis Special Edition." A parody of DVD trailers, featuring special features and interviews with the crew, the video highlighted the allegations violence against animals associated with the film The Adventures of Milo and Otis.[1] In less than a year, the video received more than 370,000 views.

Three months later, on January 5th, 2017, Zebra Corner debuted their "Real People" character, "Mahk," who would become a staple of their most popular releases, in "If 'Real People' Commercials Were Real Life – Deal Dash Parody." The video (shown below) garnered in more than 890,000 views.

Later that month, the team produced two of their most popular videos, which placed Mahk in Chevy ads (shown below, left and right, respectively). On January 19th, the team uploaded "If 'Real People' Commercials Were Real Life – CHEVY Emoji Ad," which received more than 3 million views, and on February 1st, "If 'Real People" Commercials Were Real Life – CHEVY Malibu Ad," which received more than 2.3 million views.

On March 20th, 2017, AdWeek published an interview with Zebra Corner. During the interview, Irwin commented on how the team came to be.[2] He said:

"We’ve always made fun of commercials during our weekly Sunday football games,” Shahriari says. “We kind of did our own version of Mystery Science Theater, but for commercials instead of B-movies. It wasn’t until we saw this trend of ‘real people’ commercials that it clicked. We were watching TV and a DealDash commercial came on. It was awful. The acting was horrendous, and they weren’t acting like normal people would act in that situation. So, we asked ourselves: ‘What if a brutally honest jerk was in these commercials?’ Well the commercial came back on again, and we started making funny comments to make each other laugh, except this time we wrote it down. Then I mentioned I’d been messing with a little greenscreen work recently, and that I could put Dave right into the commercial. That’s how the magic started.'"


Since launching in 2016, the Zebra Corner YouTube channel has grown to more than 220,000 subscribers.[3]

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